Friday, January 20, 2006

Does blogging really matter?

I’ve been blogging since March, 2004. It all came about because the designer of my first website concluded that since I was a writer, I should be given every opportunity to write. It was shrewd on his part. I’m forever grateful for his prescience, as I’ve been a regular blogger ever since.

Blogs have become increasingly popular since I started. While the numbers vary, Technorati, an authority on the world of weblogs (or blogs for short) currently tracks nearly 26 million blogs worldwide. Those sites represent over 1 billion links. That’s certainly a significant number.

What makes for an interesting blog? That’s a very subjective question and has more to do with each reader’s tastes and what they’re looking for, rather than specific traits or qualities. Personally, I have my own list of favorite blogs that I read. Some of them are topic-specific; others are oriented more to the personal whims of the poster.

My primary blog, Words Matter, which was blog #2 for me, is a place where I work out a lot of ideas and thoughts I have percolating. Most of what I write about there pertains to politics, culture, some Maine-specific events, and occasionally, just plain personal stuff happening in my own life.

I have my own criteria that I use in determining if a site is worth regular viewing trips. First and foremost for me is regular updating of content. A blog doesn’t necessarily have to have daily updates, but some regular interval and flow is important to keep me coming back. I also like original writing, not a lot of cut and paste. If you check out the links at Words Matter, you’ll get an idea of what I find most interesting in the blogosphere.

It seems intuitive to me that if you want to know how to do something, then you should look to the people who have the experience when seeking expertise. It always amazes me how many poseurs pass themselves off as experts in the areas of communications, content, PR and marketing and in particular, writing for blogs. These same people produce a fraction of the content that I’ve accumulated over the past few years. I guess if you repeat something enough, people will begin to believe you.

I’m surprised that more writers don’t incorporate blogs into their websites. Originally, I thought I’d forego having a blog at this site, but I find that I have topics that make sense to write about here—primarily related to my writing, or writing in general—that just seem awkward or cloying at Words Matter.

Whether you agree with every opinion and thought that I express (now there’s a scary thought), what I hope shines through in what I write about, is the passion that I bring to any subject that I tackle. Too many writers seem overly comfortable with producing minimal output. In my opinion that’s not a good sign for anyone looking to hire a writer. The best writers write. While mere volume of content doesn’t automatically guarantee quality, it is one indicator of how much fervor a writer has for their craft.

I think maintaining a blog makes sense for writers, businesspeople, public officials and any other person who has something to communicate to a specific audience. It’s a great platform to share your ideas and views, while also proving to be extremely cost-effective.

So does blogging really matter? My answer is an unequivocal yes, particularly if you have something to say. If you call yourself a writer, then you better be packing some content, otherwise, you’re not worthy of that designation.

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